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Press Release

Contact:
Eric Sloss
412-268-5765

For immediate release:
September 16, 2004

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama Opens the Season with "Arcadia" October 7-9 and 12-16, 2004

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama will open the 2004-2005 season with Tom Stoppard's 1993 Olivier Award-winning play, "Arcadia." Carnegie Mellon Professor of Directing Gregory Lehane will direct this production. "Arcadia" will run October 7-9 and 12-16, 2004, at the Philip Chosky Theater in Carnegie Mellon's Purnell Center for the Arts.

"Arcadia," which Time magazine calls "a work as simple as a perfect cube and as complex as the physics of a breaking wave," is a modern masterpiece that explores the increasingly abstract boundary between art and science. Set in two vastly different time periods, "Arcadia" tells the story of Thomasina, an adolescent prodigy who discovers chaos theory in the 18th century, and her 20th-century descendant, Valentine, who tries to piece together her life more than a century later. For both storylines, Stoppard assembles an endearingly eccentric cast of characters. The play's wide-ranging, lightly learned dialogue is itself an "arcadia of the mind" the modern audience will be happy to enter.

"Tom Stoppard's 'Arcadia' brilliantly sets the context for a theatre season dedicated to exploring the intersection of science and drama. His crystalline language and masterful manipulation of the period, style and layers of reality adroitly lead the audience into an idea-rich world of remarkable fascination. Scientific constructs have never seemed so compelling," said Elizabeth Bradley, head of the School of Drama.

The unifying theme for the School of Drama's 2004-2005 season is the exploration of scientific ideas. "In the 2004-2005 season, the School of Drama has largely chosen plays that explore scientific ideas and their impact on the world. Whether seen from the perspective of 'science as nightmare,' or conversely 'science as utopia,' this theme provides a rich array of dramatic material and is uniquely suited to Carnegie Mellon. At this university we daily celebrate the conjunction between scientific and artistic endeavor," said Bradley.

"Arcadia" also presents new and exciting challenges for the student actors and actresses who will bring the characters to life. "In some ways it's about research and the elusive nature of knowledge. But there are also a lot of other intellectual ideas that are important for our students to encounter," said Lehane.

Lehane is a professor of directing at Carnegie Mellon's College of Fine Arts. His productions have been seen around the world, including in the United States, Canada, Cairo and Moscow. He has also directed television programs for all three networks, PBS, TBS, Lifetime, Nickelodeon, USA and the Disney Channel. Lehane has received two Emmy nominations for outstanding direction. In 2003, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named him director of the year. This season Lehane will also direct the School of Drama's production of "Candide."

Founded in 1914, the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama is a pre-professional conservatory program educating young artists. The school is committed to ongoing progressive engagement with all forms of theatre and seeks to inspire students to create signature work in their chosen area of endeavor. It celebrates unique voices from diverse cultures and aims to foster curiosity about the fusion between other art forms and current theatre practice, including exploring the storytelling potential of the new technologies. The newly established International Artists Residency Program allows students to envision new possibilities for distinctive artistic expression that will summon in them untapped creativity and accomplishment.

Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. on Fridays, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays. To purchase tickets for "Arcadia" or any other School of Drama production, call the box office at 412-268-2407. For more information about the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, visit www.cmu.edu/cfa/drama. For more information about the College of Fine Arts, visit www.cmu.edu/cfa or contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or ecs@andrew.cmu.edu.

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